|Photo of construction underway at the former Sandridge Hotel site|
(click image to enlarge)
What is it? That's the question on the minds of many in Road View/Mullins as they witness construction activity in progress on the site of the former Sandridge Hotel over the last half a year or so. It says a lot about transparency in Barbados when a project with sometimes large construction cranes on the site can be executed in a neighborhood and nobody in that neighborhood, except perhaps for the developer himself who lives in the area, knows for sure what's going on. Questioning some of the construction workers on the site yields very little information. I don't know whether they have all been sworn to secrecy but the most you get out of them is, unbelievably, "I don't know," or "they say condos."
As far as this blogger knows, the project has no name, there are no billboards out front advertising it as we see in other west coast projects (even the stalled ones), and there is nothing in the media about it - not even in the puff pieces the Nation newspaper ran of the developer late last year. Recently, the developer refused to answer another journalist's questions about the project. We saw this same secrecy next door at what they are calling St Peter's Bay, and it saddled us with three massive rock groynes which have exacerbated beach erosion problems in the area threatening private property and upsetting the ecological balance; and also brought about the impending destruction of one of the area's old neighborhoods.
A source which has proven to be very reliable in the past has told this blogger that what's going up on the site is a block of five ultra-luxury 20K sq. ft. condos a la The Sands south of Sandy Lane. [As an aside, it has also come to the attention of this blogger that The Sands has not had a single guest since its opening early last year, and even though they are also very, very deep pockets associated with that project, they have been recently laying off staff and putting others on short time]. We already know that it is not just an extension of St Peter's Bay because of the massive permanent wall fence they are constructing between the two properties. This fence also includes a new seawall, pictured below, hardening the beachfront even though there has been significant accretion in the area north of the groynes.
|Seawall at The Sands II (click image to enlarge)|
This seawall may or may not have been the trigger of a vague warning from the Coastal Zone Management Unit earlier this year about the possible catastrophic consequences of building "illegal engineering structures on some beaches, particularly in the north of the island." This blogger is not saying that the seawall is illegal nor that the CZMU necessarily had it in its crosshairs. However, it has been noticed that work on the project has slowed significantly since the publication of the warning. There is still some light construction equipment on the site but the huge cranes are now gone. The CZMU itself has also recently fallen on tough times because of its own secrecy and lack of transparency.